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Old 04-22-2004, 11:13   #1
The Reaper
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18A Introduction

Welcome to the 18A SF Officer Forum of Professional Soldiers ®.

The purpose of this forum is to allow for the free exchange of info between former, current, and future 18s. This is not limited to 18As and prospective 18As because we need for the SF NCOs to contribute and give you their perspectives on 18As. As the only 18A on an ODA, your NCOs and the 180A will make or break you. The intent is that we might share professional and personal experiences for the education of us all, and to explain to those considering a career as an SF Officer what the 18A is responsible for.

The only restrictions on this forum are to respect the QPs and one another, observe OPSEC/PERSEC restrictions, keep it professional, and do not post classified or restricted access material.

Those 18As and prospective 18As who post here reflect on the SF Officer Corps. Consider that before posting anything questionable.

Have a good time, take a little something from here, leave a little something for others.

TR
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Old 04-24-2004, 01:05   #2
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Re: 18A Introduction

Quote:
Originally posted by The Reaper
...The only restrictions on this forum are to respect the QPs and one another, observe OPSEC/PERSEC restrictions, keep it professional, and do not post classified or restricted access material....TR
TR, I think you just created a loophole where a Detachment Commander can get respect, they will flock here in droves if so .

All smartass comments aside, my take on this this forum is it should be DCs asking questions and NCOs answering them, I look forward to seeing some good stuff in here.
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Old 04-24-2004, 02:21   #3
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I am hopeful that this forum will take off. Whatever the "regular" QPs might think, I've always been more impressed by 18A's than the O-3s that I get to deal with (MI dudes). I revere few if any CPTs. Those that I have true respect for have mostly been 18A's.
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Old 04-25-2005, 09:47   #4
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As a new guy here, I wish I knew about this when I first got to my team (not my as in possessive, by my as in the one I happen to belong to). Anywhom, thankfully I had a great team sergeant to learn from. To any new / prospective TL's out there if I can offer any advice -
Keep your eyes and your ears open, and your mouth shut for AT LEAST the first six months. You learn a lot more. The only time you should open your mouth is when you are stepping forward to take the blame for something that did not quite go as well as it should have. As an aside, I ran into that exact problem not quite a month into team time, while on a deployment...thanks to a great team sergeant, and an understanding DCO, I did manage to last more than one month as a team leader.
Learn from the other 18As. I was lucky to have some good ones in my company...talked to them for the 18A specific things that needed to be done - i.e. what the BC likes during his Backbriefs, good bullet statements for NCOERs (vetted by the TS of course), etc. From the CO / SGM learned a lot of the little things about being SF (not officer, not NCO, just SF) especially how to take care of / look out for / protect the team. And remember, you can learn from the bad ones just as much as you can learn from the good ones. We don't have to make the same mistake to learn.
Use your assets. Never forget the skills of what branch you used to be, nor more importantly the Branch/MOS/Skills of the other guys on the team...you would be surprised at how important a HUMVEE mechanic is, even if you are not in the desert. I believe when we departed the island, the count was 18E - 10, Generator - 1.
Fight for the team - This last piece of advice was given to me by my initial SF Company Commander. Never be afraid to question the boss. Do it professionally, not like an idiot, but never be afraid to question him. The team will realize that you are fighiting for them. You may change the boss's mind...you may not, he can still tell you to execute...but at least you were fighting for the team.
Hope I am not overstepping any bounds, but I hope this is of some help to some new / future 18A...
Comments?
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Old 04-25-2005, 11:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Go For Broke
Never be afraid to question the boss. Do it professionally, not like an idiot, but never be afraid to question him. The team will realize that you are fighiting for them. You may change the boss's mind...you may not, he can still tell you to execute...but at least you were fighting for the team.
Hope I am not overstepping any bounds, but I hope this is of some help to some new / future 18A...
Comments?
Good observations. A suggestion, when you think it is time to take on the boss make sure you have your stuff all together in the same kit bag. While I have always appreciated and encouraged team leaders to stand up and be counted and surface those items that are of concern to them and their team, I have eaten team leaders alive for coming in with a problem and not a recommendation to resolve their perceived problem. Think two echelons above your level and make sure you are aware of the big picture. While it is your commander's responsibility to provide you with his concept and intent of what he wants so that you can operate using intelligent initiative without having to rely on command supervision or oversight, it is your responsiblity to make sure you truly understand that aspect of the game plan. This is true in garrison or in the field. Remember it not the bosses job to care and feed for the monkey that you think is on your back. T

Jack Moroney-counselling that the size of your balls may be too heavy for your team to carry
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Old 04-25-2005, 13:30   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Moroney
...counselling that the size of your balls may be too heavy for your team to carry
Oh, that's definitely a keeper!

Last edited by Razor; 04-25-2005 at 13:31. Reason: piss-poor spelling
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Old 04-25-2005, 22:09   #7
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i guess my experience and background is different from what Go for Broke and what optactical experienced...i was an NCO on an A-detachment for several years before OCS...(some of that time i was a candy-striper on an A-detachment...a truly humbling experience)...the Group CSM is the one that pushed me toward OCS, and i had a good deal of encouragement from senior NCOs at all levels (to the point that i thought they didn't want me around)...

i was a 2LT XO on an A-detachment (after a year indenture in an airborne battalion in Italy)...the team sergeant had been my faculty advisor in Phase II, the radio operator and i had gone through Phase I and III together and the intel sergeant and i had been jumpmaster instructors together, as well as EIB lane graders...i had the chance to learn what being an SF officer was like as an XO, not as a commander...as the XO, i got to deal with paperwork, training plans, ammunition forecasts and every pain in the ass thing that SF (and other) officers deal with...i got to drive a 2 1/2 ton truck because i had a license from my enlisted days, i pulled alot of DZSO and MACO, airland safety and any thing else my NCO background qualified me for, including teaching MOS classes during cross training...it was a good experience for me, a bridge between being one of the guys on the team and transitioning to becoming a detachment commander...

when i commanded a detachment as a senior first lieutenant, junior captain, i had more time in SF than everyone other than the team sergeant and senior medic...i had more time in the army than anyone other than the team sergeant...i was older than anyone except the team sergeant...(yes, i was a thirty year old first lieutenant for awhile)...

in one sense, i acknowledge that the team tech position has added experience to the detachments...but i wonder if i'm the only one that wonders if being able to groom a lieutenant wasn't another way of doing business?
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Old 04-26-2005, 05:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lksteve
in one sense, i acknowledge that the team tech position has added experience to the detachments...but i wonder if i'm the only one that wonders if being able to groom a lieutenant wasn't another way of doing business?
I know that they wrestled with this when they were contemplating the 180A business. Certainly from your experiences your were the exception because you had SF experience long before you got commissioned. The problems I saw with having brand new LTs on an A-team were several fold and certainly varied from individual to individual. First there was a maturity problem, and I am not talking about age but the ability to differentiate between personal and professional relationships. Many came into the Army, much less SF, not really understanding what the military was really all about. Second, their basic branch experience really brought not a whole lot to the team when it came to the UW mission. With the team supposedly being able to organize, train, lead, a guerrilla battalion a 2LT had only a grounding in platoon tactics as an infantry officer and not even much of that if he came from some other branch of the army. When he was cut loose for his next assignment as a senior 1st LT or junior CPT he was behind his peers in his basic branch many that I have known that went back to the regular army got shafted by their superiors because they had the audacity to consider themselves as soldiers first and officers second. Consequently many got chewed up by a system that looked at SF as something alien to their idea of what the military officer should be-you know them: rank is status, enlisted folk exist only to enhance your career, do as I say not as I do, I'll push from the rear not lead from the front...etc. The result of that produced, in some cases not all, an officer who might have been able to return to SF but did not get that chance to perform as a company commander or battalion staff officer. When he becomes that detachment commander, while he was comfortable with the SF soldiers he hadn't a clue how to become that "BN Cdr" to organize, train, advise, assist and lead that guerrilla battalion nor plan for it, nor have a feeling about how the conventional forces operated with whom he might be called upon to support in a FID role or joint planner/operator. In short, I think that in those cases where this happened we not only did the officer an injustice but also SF. Now the branch has some of the same short comings in that there is an advantage, as far as I am concerned, to see SF officers go back and forth between conventional and SF assignments. That conventional experience at different echelons in the Army provides some good insight as to what the Army is doing, provides experience in levels of staff training and command that are applicable to the different levels for command and staff requirements as an 18A moves forward in his career. Don't misunderstand me, I am not looking at the 18A's career progression as being the most important aspect here. What I am considering only, which as far as I am concerned the most important, is his ability to get the job done for his troops regardless of what rank he achieves. Now I am sure others will have different view points on this, but these are my observations based only on my experiences dealing with officers in SF. Certainly there are those that don't fall in this situation, but there were a lot that did. So do I think it would be good to groom our own from 2LT? In an ideal world, where we did not have folks more concerned about ticket punching and what career progression officers had to follow to stay competitive and meet the "standards" of what an officer should look like on paper as an ARMY officer,sure. Couldn't agree more. But what that means is that we need to fill in all the blanks from commissioning to retirement for this guy to make sure that what we produce is fully capable of doing what the troops need and expect from an 18A and what the Army, who still determines if he survives in his career, expects from him as an officer. The only other approach would be to create a 5th branch where SF was SF and not US Army SF. Just my thoughts.

Jack Moroney
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Old 04-26-2005, 19:59   #9
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Colonel Moroney, i agree with you in many ways, but i offer these arguments...a lieutenant doesn't necessarily have the background to lead men to train, organize equip and advise a light infantry battalion in a hostile environment based on what he has learned in IOBC and as an infantry platoon leader( i was an infantry platoon leader and i graduated from and trained lieutenants in IOBC)...i'm not sure a 23 year old staff sergeant has the background to train, organize, equip and advise a light infantry company based on three or four years in the 3rd Hooah and the Q course, without the benefit of a rigorous selection process that weeds out the immature and the unready...the truth be know, while i graduated from SFQC as a 23 year old sergeant (who made staff sergeant shortly after returning to active duty), i never attended SFOC...at the time, my observation was that they had a shorter Phase II, less time on the Uwharrie treck and they went to Robin Sage, whereas we went to the FTX at the end of Phase III...but alas, i digress...

when i was an NCO, we never had both officers on a detachment...we either had an experienced captain or a novice lieutenant...there seemed to be no middle ground...it seemed, that due to the shortage of officers, the standards at IMA were not the same for an enlisted man as they were for officers...our graduation rate was pretty low, and while the high school to SF route was open for the Idemas of the world, even the prior service graduation rate wasn't that high...the team sergeant i had as an XO explained to me that he was more concerned with the NCOs that went through the course than he was the Os, as an officer rarely spent more than a year or so on a detachment before moving on, whereas an NCO could easily spend 15 years or more on teams...

it seems to me that the major impediment to the selection process that NCOs endured long before it was applied to officers, was the fact that failure to be selected for SF would be viewed negatively for an officer, not unlike an officer signing an LOM in Ranger School or the like...and it seems that in that regard, a different yardstick was used to measure the performance of the younger officers of the 70s and early 80s...please correct me if i am wrong...

as far as the branch and the career issues, i always sort of felt screwed by the branch...i remember an assignments officer telling me i shouldn't have gone SF as an LT, it screwed up the timing on the rest of my career...i remember telling him that i was an SF officer before there was a branch to protect me and someone needed to keep the career field viable while waiting for all the latter day heroes that showed up after April of 1987...

but then, tact never was my forte...
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Old 04-27-2005, 05:29   #10
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[QUOTE=lksteve]Colonel Moroney, i agree with you in many ways, but i offer these argumentsQUOTE]


I don't see these as arguments/disagreements of any kind-just different perspectives based on different experiences. Perhaps I misunderstood the question. I thought we were talking about getting a 2lt assigned as a team XO, keeping him here until he was a CPT while he was being "groomed" to become the detachment CDR. CPTs assigned after the Q-course lack some of the necessary tools in their kit bag to conduct UW and FID, hell there are senior officers today that still think the word underground refers to a subway system. My experience, not argument, is that from what I have seen over the years serving twice as an A-Team Cdr, twice as a B-Team Cdr, a SF SMU Cdr, SF BN XO SF Group S3 and running the training group is that the skill sets and broad knowledge base I feel is necessary for an officer to become a detachment cdr does not exist in 2lts and that a 2lt would be better served getting his feet wet in the Infantry (or other basic branch) for several years, complete his Infantry Advanced Course and come to SF with a company command and bn staff experience in his rucksack. That of course would be the ideal, however even folks that have followed that path just don't belong or do well as Detachment Cdrs because they often think of themselves as officers before they think of themselves as soldiers. The selection and the Q-course do not produce Detachment Cdrs but they do provide the raw material for further development and training so that they can become Detachment Cdrs once they slip their foot inside that team room door and subsequent association with their units. I think that we both are looking at situations and drawing on our own experiences, which is what this forum is supposed to provide. I think we both understand that all Detachment Cdrs are not created equally and we obviously have had different experiences with subsequent opinions on what might have been a better path to get there, but recognize that I have no argument with how you see what would/could have been a better way to do things in the time and situation you experienced. As far as what system did/should have/could have produced a better product, I really don't know as some outstanding Detachment Cdrs came from every situation imaginable. Then again you always get a few that sort of muddle through whose total career contribution, if measured in sweat, would not be enough to raise a salt ring on a leather boot. So, while interesting, talking about whose selection criteria was better is sort of like the old argument of whose Ranger class was worse: the summer ranger of the winter ranger. Both graduated and both sport a new tab on their uniform that provides a distinct advantage over the non-ranger. That being that he stays a little dryer longer under the tab.

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Old 04-27-2005, 19:55   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Moroney
I don't see these as arguments/disagreements of any kind-just different perspectives based on different experiences. Perhaps I misunderstood the question.
i'm not sure there ever was i question...i was musing something to the effect that having an XO on an A-team was maybe another way of grooming an officer to be a detachment commander...i would agree that SF is no place for a 2LT (although i think a prior service guy can fill a need, as i did)...as i stated earlier, the warrant provides experience in a profession where a lack of experience is often a fatal shortcoming...i am somewhat conflicted about that...i feel that time cranking a generator as an XO makes a guy a better detachment commander, or at least provides some crucial background...that said, an XO can get folks killed as quickly as an inexperienced detachment commander...i am not sure (and will listen to any arguments/opinions to the contrary) about the warrant officer concept as the only solution to having two officers on a team...i'm not sure having a mixture of warrants and lieutenants would be workable, and i am sure that there is no such thing as too much experience in the special operations profession...but i was just musing...

must be beer-thirty...
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Old 04-27-2005, 20:07   #12
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Originally Posted by lksteve
must be beer-thirty...
Have one for me.
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Old 04-27-2005, 20:31   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Moroney
Have one for me.
i'm falling asleep now, so i'd better drink yours first...
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:56   #14
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Dear Sirs

two questions please

Does your 180A always come from SF?

Does exist the situation in an ODA where you could find one CPT in charge from the pipeline and a 180A who we'ren't in sf before?
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:03   #15
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Quote:
Does your 180A always come from SF?
Yes. http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/warran...qu/wo180A.html

Quote:
Does exist the situation in an ODA where you could find one CPT in charge from the pipeline and a 180A who weren't in SF before?
No.

Richard's $.02
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